When I’m writing a laptop review, one of the most important, but probably overlooked parts is the Ports section. Depending on the selection included on the laptop, you can transform your system from a traditional laptop into a productivity and multimedia powerhouse. I saw this first hand with the new Razer Blade 18 at CES 2024 and I’m excited for the possibilities.
Picture this, you’re walking a crowded CES show floor and you see a thin-and-light laptop running Assassin’s Creed Mirage to a trio of 4K monitors with high refresh rates, all with a mouse and dock connected to it. This was the sight that greeted me at the Razer Booth. As I watched the demo I knew I had to play. I made my way over and it wasn’t long before I was running through the streets, causing trouble and then hiding in plain sight as Basim. The streets of Baghdad were full of people and alive with color. And no matter how quickly I spun the camera, I could detect any motion blur, jaggies or stuttering.
How is all of this possible? Simple, the laptop is one of the first to sport Intel’s new Thunderbolt 5 ports. Announced during CES, Thunderbolt 5 is the next generation of connectivity. According to Intel, it will deliver 80Gbps of “bi-directional bandwidth, and with Bandwidth Boost it will provide up to 120 Gbps for the best display experience.” That translates into having three times the bandwidth of its predecessor which is excellent news for gamers and creators because they can connect to high-resolution displays with minimal to no lag while working with bigger loads of data.
Per Intel’s site, here’s a list of Thunderbolt 5’s benefits:
- Two times the total bi-directional bandwidth; Bandwidth Boost provides up to three times the throughput for video-intensive usage, up to 120 Gbps.
- Double the PCI Express data throughput for faster storage and external graphics.
- Built on industry standards including USB4 V2, DisplayPort 2.1 and PCI Express Gen 4; fully compatible with previous versions.
- Double the bandwidth of Thunderbolt Networking for high-speed PC-to-PC connections.
- Utilizes a new signaling technology, PAM-3, to deliver these significant increases in performance with today’s printed circuit boards, connectors and passive cables up to 1 meter.
But even if you’re not looking to connect to another display, the Blade 18 is no slouch, starting with the display. The 18-inch panel is the world’s first 4K panel with a 165Hz refresh rate and a 3-millisecond response rate. It’s also G-Sync compatible and is just begging for me to play Cyberpunk 2077 and some of my other favorite games on the absolute highest settings. It’s absolutely stunning in person and I can’t wait to get one in for review to benchmark the color reproduction and accuracy.
Under the hood, the Blade 18 has an Intel Core i9-14900HX processor paired with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 GPU. So it’s plenty powerful, to the point where it can easily transition from a marathon gaming session to a heavy-duty photo or video-editing workload. All of this, and Razer has managed to maintain its trademark svelte dimensions. For laptops, 2024 is getting off to a great start and I’m looking forward to making many updates to the best gaming laptops pages and many others.
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Sherri L. Smith has been cranking out product reviews for Laptopmag.com since 2011. In that time, she's reviewed more than her share of laptops, tablets, smartphones and everything in between. The resident gamer and audio junkie, Sherri was previously a managing editor for Black Web 2.0 and contributed to BET.Com and Popgadget.